Greendale’s Patience Big Part of His Mat Success at Natick

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
March, 2018
Article Body: 

A popular adage claims that patience is a virtue and Joe Greendale is an excellent example of how meaningful that philosophy has been in his young life.
The 17-year-old senior, who’s wrestled since he was a sixth-grader, had to wait for his opportunity to start on Natick High’s successful squad. Before he became a starter at 182 pounds this year, Greendale bided his time and paid his dues, spending a year on the jayvee team as a sophomore and competing sparingly as a junior on the varsity.
During those two years, the personable Greendale never complained. All he did was commit to a relentless work ethic and aim to improve daily.
“Joe’s been in the program since middle school,’’ coach Bob Anniballi said. “Last year was a tough time for him to break in because we had some really good wrestlers ahead of him. But, he remained committed and persistent and he always worked hard. He even spent time mentoring some of our younger kids.’’
His patience paid big dividends last December when Natick traveled to Lowell for the prestigious Lowell Tournament that includes 76 teams from all over New England. All Greendale did was win four of six matches and earn a medal for his eighth-place finish.
“That was a memorable event,’’ Greendale recalled. “I was behind, 4-1, in one of my late matches but rallied to win by pinning Atman Berille of Brookline, who’s a very solid wrestler in the Bay State Conference. I faced the best wrestlers in New England at Lowell and after my finish, the Mass. Wrestling Association had me ranked No. 9 in the state at 182.’’
Greendale’s favorite hold is a hammerlock, a maneuver that sounds painful and difficult to execute. “I get on top, then pull my opponent’s arm onto his back,’’ he explained. “From that point, I grab his wrist then strive to pin him.’’
What makes the Natick native so remarkable is the way his patience has become such an asset. Because of it, he was chosen as a captain a week after the season began. Anniballi said that his other three captains wanted Greendale in the mix and his assistant coaches agreed.
“When I wasn’t a captain, I still tried to lead,’’ Greendale noted. “I got help when I was an underclassman and I’m always glad to offer assistance if someone asks. As a captain, I try to lead by example and by being vocal, if necessary.’’
The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has a plethora of strengths — he’s strong, has technical ability and he’s persistent. He’s also flexible. “I’m willing to make a situation work by persisting but I’m also willing to change to improve,’’ Greendale emphasized. “When I wasn’t a starter, I never considered quitting. It wasn’t an option. My goals at the start of the season were for our team to get better daily in spite of our youth and inexperience. As for me personally, I wanted to improve, place in the sectionals and advance to the states.
Those goals were realized when Greendale won three of four matches at the Division 2 Sectional tourney at Algonquin Regional. He finished third in the 182-pound class and advanced to the state tourney, which was held after Local Town Pages deadline. Greendale, who helped Natick take second place at the Sectional, has a 32-17 overall record in dual meets.
Greendale played two seasons of football and contributed on defense (tackle) and special teams for two winning campaigns. As for wrestling, he’s grateful for the top-notch trio of captains he’s worked with and for a coach he greatly respects for giving him his opportunity.
“Tim Ranstrom (170) was my workout partner in practice and he’s a great teammate,’’ Greendale said. “He’s so mentally tough. Joe Castellino (145) is a nice guy who’s strong and so committed, and Jacob Opela (132) is strong, aggressive, fast and mentally tough. Coach Anniballi has coaching wrestling down to a science. He’s a motivator who plans accordingly and makes great decisions. He also cares about his wrestlers.’’
A good student, Greendale hopes to major in mechanical engineering in college. So far, he has yet to decide where to further his education.
Greendale’s athletic philosophy is a balance of reaching his potential and striving to win. “When an athlete is going all out, that peak leads to winning,’’ he said. “Competing to win is important and it does promote a good feeling.’’
Learning life lessons through athletics has been valuable for Greendale. As a captain, he understands the keys to leadership and he’s learned to overcome adversity and be compassionate.
“I’ve learned leadership skills and how to be compassionate to younger competitors who might think they’re struggling but really are working diligently,’’ Greendale said. “When I was aiming to be a starter, I overcame some adversity. A big step in improving is when you experience it. That’s what makes you better.’’
Calling all his previous captains and coaches role models for their support and encouragement, Greendale has no regrets the way his career at Natick has unfolded. There’s been two superb football seasons that led to playoff appearances. And, there’s been a sectional and state title in wrestling his junior season.
Lots of good things happen when patience rules the day.